Citroen's new back-to-basics green electric city car costing from just £5,000 is to be sold in the UK following 'unprecedented' demand for it to cross the Channel.
Bosses gave the green light to the quirky two-seater Citroen Ami runaround coming here after receiving more than 12,000 expressions of interest from potential British customers.
The French carmaker says the dinky car exemplifies the 'spirit' of the legendary cheap and cheerful 2CV.
So proud is the French car firm about exporting its new car to post-Brexit Britain that they have adorned one of the 47-mile-range models in a bright Union Flag - though it won't be sold with this paint-scheme option.
Green car given the green light: Citroen has confirmed today that it will be selling its diminutive Ami electric vehicle to customers in Britain
Powered by a 5.5kWh battery, the pure electric vehicle with zero-emissions has a top speed of 28mph and a range of up to 46 miles. It recharges in just three hours.
The Citroen Ami vehicle will be adapted for the UK market but be sold only in left-hand drive.
However, the vehicle is so small and the steering wheel so central in that cabin that this will make little to no difference to Britons' customers who are happy and willing to take the plunge.
However Citroen pointed out: 'One significant benefit of Amis left-hand drive configuration when being driven in the UK, is that it will allow the driver the benefit of exiting the vehicle at the kerbside when parking at the roadside in city centres.'
In a statement released this morning, the French maker announced: 'Due to unprecedented customer demand, Citroen is pleased to announce that Citroen Ami will launch in the UK during spring 2022.'
It added: 'Since making its debut in 2020, Citroen Ami has been turning heads around the world – not least here in the UK.
'Much to the delight of a large and growing number of UK customers, the Citroen brand is now able to announce that the zero-emissions Ami will officially launch here in the spring of 2022.'
Bosses gave the green light to the quirky two-seater Citroen Ami runaround crossing the Channel after receiving more than 12,000 expressions of interest from potential British customers
While it will be sold in the UK, it won't be modified for British roads, with the steering wheel kept on the left hand side
While the wheel will be in front of the left seat, because of the small and boxy nature of the vehicle, it is already feels like sitting in the middle more than to one side
Powered by a 5.5kWh battery, the pure electric vehicle with zero-emissions has a top speed of 28mph and a range of up to 46 miles. It recharges in just three hours
The 12,000-plus customers who have already registered interest on the Citroen website will from today be given priority access to secure their Ami with a £250 refundable reservation fee.
From Monday (September 27) the reservation system will be open to all.
Final prices have yet to be announced, but translated from the Continental Euro price should be around £5,000.
Car share and rental options are also being explored, as is already the Ami's main use in Paris, where it can be hired in the city in a range of flamboyant colours.
In France it is bought entirely online and can either can be delivered to your home or collected from a pick-up point, with the mantra: 'Ordered from your sofa, delivered to your home.'
That is also likely to be the case for UK customers.
Final prices have yet to be announced, but translated from the Continental Euro price should be around £5,000
Citroen electric city cars Ami for Free2Move free-floating car-sharing service was launched in Paris in August 2020
The Parisian rental vehicles are available in a selection of bonkers colours and schemes, some of them seen here
Technically and legally, however, the AMI is not classified as a car, but as a 'light quadricycle', like the Renault Twizy, and can be driven at 16 across most of Europe and as young as 14 in France.
But anyone driving Ami in the UK will still require a full UK driving licence, as for a traditional passenger car, which means the youngest driver here will be 17.
Citroen said: 'As a 100 per cent electric vehicle, Ami emits zero-emissions in use and has a 5.5kWh battery that recharges in just three hours.
'With a range of 46 miles and a top speed of 28mph, AMI is a modern solution that delivers on Citroën's promise to provide affordable and clean mobility solutions for all.'
Since being revealed in February 2020, Citroen days the micro-car has received 'significant interest' from UK buyers.
Its zero-emissions means it is exempt from the Congestion Charge and Ultra-low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) charge, making it a 'future-proof' solution to mobility concerns in many UK cities, says Citroen.
Ray Massey has already experienced what the Ami is like on the road in a brief road test in December last year
What's it like inside the Ami? We can tell you...
It is also very cleverly thought out if quite basic – most of it is sculpted plastic over a metal frame.
Citroen Ami: Will it fit in my garage?
Price: circa £5,000 (car share and rental options also likely)
Vehicle type: 'light quadricycle' (requires full UK driving licence)
Width: 1,390mm (excluding mirrors)
Top speed: 28mph
Range: up to 46 miles
Weight with battery: 485kg
Turning circle: 7.2 metres
Power: electric motor
Side windows: tilt upwards (in nod to 2CV)
Charging time: 3 hours (from standard domestic socket)
At only 2.41 metres long and a wheel at each corner it turns on a sixpence with an incredibly tight turning circle of just 7.2 metres, making it ideal for navigating busy streets and fitting into narrow parking spaces. The two-seater has space for the driver, a passenger and a small item if luggage.
In a 'nostalgic nod' to the Citroen 2CV, the manual side windows can be opened by flipping the glass upwards into a fixed raised position.
Buyers have can also personalise their Amis using colourful accessory packs and additions - though a Union Jack option won't be available.
To save costs, the two wide doors are identical. But they are hinged differently either side so open in opposite directions. It cuts costs because Citroen only need to make one door – which can be used both sides. The same goes for the front and rear bumpers and side panels – all keeping costs down.
Inside it's remarkably light and airy with great visibility thanks to the profusion off glass from a wide and high windscreen, generous side windows and a large fixed sun roof. Glazing above the main bodyline covers half the total surface.
A tiny dashboard screen gives you your speed, battery level, range, and drive mode.
To the right of the steering wheel is a small holder for your smart-phone which – via an app – will provide your sat-nav and infotainment options.
The interior door handle is a fabric grab-handle. Imaginative storage cubby holes include cargo nets in the door recesses, bright orange removable inlay trays below the windscreen, and a hook for bags or take-aways.
The moulded plastic seats are surprisingly comfortable with a storage recess in front of the passenger's feet where you might squeeze in a bag .
There's no boot and just a very limited amount of space at the back, so travel light.
To find out more about what it's like on the open road, read the This is Money first drive report.
At only 2.4m long and a wheel at each corner it turns on a sixpence with an incredibly tight turning circle of just 7.2m, making it ideal for navigating busy streets and fitting into narrow parking spaces
The two-seater has space for the driver, a passenger and a small item if luggage
It's not what you call roomy, though with a maximum range of 46 miles, it isn't going to be used for long journeys
Managing director of Citroen UK Eurig Druce said: 'I am delighted to announce that Citroën AMI is launching in the UK and will arrive in the country in spring 2022.
As cities and urban areas introducing stricter limits for vehicles he said: 'The Ami will provide a mobility solution in a very unique package that is fun, exciting, and accessible for all.'
Citroen's global boss Vincent Cobee was equally enthusiastic: 'We're bringing it to Britain. It was never originally planned for the UK. But we're glad that Britain has taken it to its heart.'
Even before arriving in the UK, the Citroen Ami has already won a clutch of honours – including at the GQ Car Awards 2021 and the Auto Express New Car Awards 2021.
By 2025, Citroen says it will offer an electrified variant across its entire model line-up.
Models already in UK showrooms include the all-electric New e-C4 hatchback and e-SpaceTourer MPV, plus C5 Aircross SUV Hybrid.
As we discovered last year, there's no boot and just a very limited amount of space at the back, so travel light
Even before arriving in the UK, the Citroen Ami has already won a clutch of honours – including at the GQ Car Awards 2021 and the Auto Express New Car Awards 2021
Would you consider owning a Citroen Ami? At £5,000, motoring doesn't come much cheaper than this